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Columbus City Council to vote on surveillance cameras to fight crime

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:05 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A new tool to help fight crime in the Fountain City could be one step closer to reality.

At the Columbus City Council meeting Tuesday evening, they could move forward with plans to install cameras in high crime areas.

Redistricting and updates on how the city’s using funding from the American Rescue Plan are also on the council’s agenda.

News Leader 9 spoke with Deputy City Manger Lisa Goodwin, who will discuss potential plans to install cameras throughout Columbus.

In December, Goodwin presented the idea involving a partnership between Columbus City Council and local law enforcement. Nearly 2,000 high-resolution cameras will be placed throughout the Fountain City in places like crime hot spots. As those change over time, these cameras will also be moved. The new technology will also be used to catch those caught littering.

“These are 360 degree cameras, they’re tag readers,” Goodwin said. “These are cameras that, even at night, will be able to clearly see what’s going on, facial features.”

Officials using this technology will even be able to easily during a particular time, wearing certain clothing. During tonight’s meeting, City Council will vote on whether those first batch including 584 cameras will be installed throughout Columbus.

“Keep in mind, we already have cameras in the city,” Goodwin said. “We have literally over almost 17-hundred cameras in the city already. And this is just newer technology and adding more cameras in other places.”

Goodwin says the quality of this equipment is so great that officials will clearly capture license plates, even at night, and include facial recognition.

During the meeting, city council will vote on whether the first batch, including 584 cameras will be installed throughout Columbus.

The vote is likely to pass as nearly all of council is in support of these efforts. If the vote does pass, Goodwin says they will proceed with purchasing this new piece of equipment.

City leaders will also be discussing the future of judicial proceedings. One Columbus resident is calling on city council to remove those hearings from the ice rink.

For the past year, the rink has been used to facilitate state court proceedings and jury selection. The decision was made to ensure those in attendance were at least six feet apart.

Typically those proceedings end as late as 2 p.m.

Columbus Resident Jack Rosenhammer says that doesn’t leave them enough time to prepare for hockey, figure skating or public skating events.

“You can’t hit after you’re done with your proceedings around 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. You can’t flip it and put ice in in three hours. It’s just not feasible,” Rosenhammer said.

Rosenhammer says he takes more than a day to put in ice for those events.

He also says the Columbus Hockey Assocation, a local figure skating club, Fort Benning, and Auburn University hockey team all suggest moving those proceedings to the Columbus Civic Center.

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